Friday, July 27, 2012

The Songs Post - 2

Clean Songs
- You Are More (Tenth Avenue North)
- Albertine (Brooke Fraser)
- I Refuse (Josh Wilson)
- Live Like There's No Tomorrow (Selena Gomez)
- Same Mistakes (One Direction)

Okay Songs
- Need You Now (Lady Antebellum)
This song is fine except for the mention of drinking. "It's a quarter after one/I'm all alone and I need you now/It's a quarter after one/I'm a little drunk and I need you now." BUT when you look at the music video, as the guy sings the last line, he picks up his cup of coffee. XD My mom and I (actually, my mom decided first...I stayed prejudiced for the first few listens) decided that the song was okay to listen to.

- One In a Lifetime Love (Keith Urban
This song actually may be completely fine. It talks about two lovers...and them getting married...and having kids. BUT....It may just be me picking on every song I can...some of these lyrics have me thinking that they may be doing "it" before marriage. "Don't fear it now, we're going all the way." This could just mean that they're going to get married, but it's very unlikely in this society and looking at the person who is singing this song. So I think that this song can be just matters how you decide to look at the song. I look at songs in a different way of what they're supposed to mean ALL THE TIME...and not only when the song may be suspicious. I can give you an example with a clean song, if anybody wants. ;)

Songs/Artists to Avoid
SOME CAUTIONS ABOUT TAYLOR SWIFT: Better than Revenge is about a girl stealing Taylor's boyfriend and know what...with him. I'm not going to state the lyrics can easily check it up yourself if you want to see the proof. This is Taylor's ONLY totally inappropriate song. Two or three songs (Teardrops on My Guitar and Cold As You) on Taylor's first album have a mild curse word in them. In the album version of Picture to Burn (a song about Taylor taking revenge on her boyfriend for cheating on her by wrecking his house), Taylor sings, "So go and tell your friends that I'm obsessive and crazy/That's fine, I'll tell mine you're gay!" The music video replaces the last line with "That's fine you won't mind if I say..."

Other than that, Taylor Swift's music is COMPLETELY she is a good artist to listen to. In fact, she is my favourite. ;)

Are the Music Videos for the Songs in this Post Okay?
- You Are More (Tenth Avenue North)...Clean, awesome, and beautiful. :) *sniffs happily*
- Albertine (Brooke Fraser)...Good. Shows Brooke Fraser among poverty-stricken people in Africa.
- I Refuse (Josh Wilson)...I watched the music video for this song a few minutes ago, and I'm impressed. :)
- Need You Now (Lady Antebellum)...Fine as long as you're good with a kiss at the end. No, it's not's normal...FOR ONCE! *sighs with relief*
- Teardrops on My Guitar (Taylor Swift)...Good. :) The minor curse word is removed in the music video version...the music also has a pop aspect added to the country.
- Picture to Burn (Taylor Swift)...Fine, as long as you're okay with Taylor's band trashing her ex-boyfriend's house while she sits on the couch singing about taking revenge on him.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Songs Post - 1

I have decided to start a new series of posts on this blog (yes, I will still be doing some more of Introducing Artists...someday ;0). I got the idea from this post from a thought - bad media does have an impact on kids and teens today. So, in this post (which I shall make as daily as I can - at least during the summer), I shall post have three lists - the first, a few songs I love that are clean, the third, a few songs that shouldn't be listened to (or just general artists that should be avoided). The second list isn't really a list - but one song that is okay-ish, and I'll give my reasons of why it is so. Unless I decide to do more than one song, which I probably will end up doing...

Without further ado, let's begin! :)

Clean Songs
- Lift Me Up (The Afters)
- Good Time (Carly Rae Jepsen & Owl City)
- The Man Who Can't Be Moved (The Script)
- Enchanted (Taylor Swift)
- Are You Happy Now? (Megan and Liz...YouTube artists, but they do have an album on iTunes)

Okay Songs
- A Team (Ed Sheeran)
This song is all about a girl, who has completely lost hope in her life. She does drugs (Breathing in snowflakes/Burnt lungs, sour taste). She is also an adulteress. (Long nights, strange men and Or sells love to another man). Why I think this song is okay because of the theme of hopelessness in the song. You KNOW that all that all the girl is doing is wrong, and you feel sorry for her. The song does not promote adultery as, sadly, so many songs do nowadays.
- Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)
This song would go in the clean songs category...I'm just a little suspicious of a few lines: I'd trade my soul for a wish and Ripped jeans, skin was showin'. Perhaps I'm just a little overeactive, but...

Songs/Artists to Avoid
- Katy Perry...I checked her up in Wikipedia. I was shocked beyond words.

Are the Music Videos for the Songs in this Post Okay?
- Good Time (Carly Rae Jepsen & Owl City) - The music video is fine, besides the fact that Carly looks like she's wearing a jean jacket over a swim suit during the whole video.
- The Man Who Can't Be Moved (The Script) - Perfectly fine. :)
- Are You Happy Now? (Megan and Liz) - Love the music video for this one! So yes, it's fine. ;)
- A Team (Ed Sheeran) - I haven't watched it yet, but if anyone would like me to preview it for them, I'd be happy to. :)
- Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)...the song goes in the okay songs category, but the music video goes in this section, mostly because of the ending. It also shows the guy being sung about taking his shirt off.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Shadow of the Bear by Regina Doman RE-REVIEW

I'm sorry...I will try to stop re-reviewing books. It's just that I feel that my first few reviews on this blog weren't very good, so I want to try again. :)

Here is the original review I did for this book.

Blanche and Rose live with their mother in New York City. One day, their mother gets involved in an accident right outside their house. She isn't hurt, but a young man helps her in. The driver, who knocked Mrs. Brier down, drives away without apologizing. The young man calls himself Bear. Rose and Mrs. Brier make friends with Bear, and he comes to their house often. Blanche has seen Bear before on the school grounds, with some drug dealers.

But as Blanche learns to trust Bear and finds out that her suspicions about him weren't correct, she and Rose also find out that Bear is in a lot of trouble - and only they can help.

I really, really loved this book. Now that I think about it, I may even prefer it to the JP2 High books because I love the overall sense of romantic adventure in it (note to self: NEED TO READ CHESTERTON).

The book is totally Catholic (note to non-Catholics: JUST LIKE LOTR!) and completely appropriate.

To non-Catholics, here is a quote from a review by a Tim Baldwin on Goodreads: "In addition, while this story is told from a very Catholic perspective, it can be enjoyed by those who are non-Christian, or even atheistic, for at the heart of the story lies a universal theme, relatable to readers of all backgrounds."

I would not recommend this book to anyone under...erm....let's say teen years because it really depends on the person. This is because some of the issues raised in this book. For example (this shall be a spoiler, so don't say I didn't warn you):

- The guy Rose has a crush on and goes to the prom with lures her into his parent's bedroom. He tries to kiss Rose and she pretends that she thinks that it's really sweet and romantic of him so that he will let her go to the bathroom. Rose escapes out of the bathroom window and gets a ride home with a policeman.

The characters are believable and so lovable. Rose is a high-strung redhead, who is daring and lives life to the fullest. Her sister, Blanche, who is more careful and prefers to let life pass by then get in danger. Bear is protective and sweet. His brother, Fish, has a sarcastic sense of humour and can get out of many a tight spot.

The best news is that there are so far four more books in this series, each one even better than the last. So not only this book, but this entire series, gets a stamp of approval!

Alyianna's rating: 11 out 10

Note: Make sure you read the 2002 version, not the 1997 version because there are some changes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Great Gatsby REVIEW (SPOILERS)

I find it hard to decide if I like this book or not. It was easy to read, well-written, and engaging. The characters were realistic and you could grow to care for them. I found the beginning a little boring, but once I got as far as after the first few pages, I like the book.

So why do I find it hard to decide what my thoughts are about this book? Because of the story. Here's how I would summarize this story:

The narrator, Nick, lives nearby the famous Gatsby, who holds big parties in his mansion that many people come to, even if they're not invited. When the story begins, Nick goes to visit his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom. A friend of Daisy's, Jordan Baker, is also there. From the latter, he learns that Tom has a mistress. As the story progresses, Nick meets Tom's mistress and is invited to one of Gatsby's parties. At the party, he meets the great Gatsby himself. Gatsby has Jordan Baker explain to Nick that eight years ago, he and Daisy were a couple. But then, he had to go off to the war, and then after that, he was forced to attend a college. When he came back, Daisy was married to Tom. He wants Nick to arrange a meeting with Daisy at his home so that he can visit with Daisy. Nick does so, and Gatsby (that's his last name, by the way) shows Daisy his beautiful house next door. The next day (I believe), Tom finds out about Gatsby and Daisy. Even though he is angry, he comes along with Nick, Jordan, Daisy, and Gatsby to town. Daisy and Gatsby drive in Gatsby's yellow car. On the way back home, Daisy is driving and accidentally kills Tom's mistress. Both Tom and his mistress' husband are deeply distressed. Tom tells the latter that Gatsby did it, which he thinks is the truth. The deeply saddened and angered man (the mistress' husband) kills Gatsby. Daisy and Tom move away, and Jordan and Nick (who had previously kissed) break up.

And that's pretty much the story of The Great Gatsby. Very dramatic, as you can see. The book was interesting, and so I would say that it's good. I just don't exactly approve of the story line. So I shall give this book a (by the way, I will be reading it again because this book is one of the many I have to read for a college-level English course):

Alyianna's rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sieze the Story: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write REVIEW

This writing book was quite good. It was easy to read, engaging, and humorous. The book was filled with writing exercises that I found quite helpful. With school, the amount of time I spent writing had decreased a lot. But after doing these writing exercises, I have gotten into the habit of free writing, finding other writing exercises to do, and working on my book(s) again.

Every chapter starts with some quotes from writers (some of them quite inspiring, if I do say so myself). There are also examples from well-known books (such as The Lord of the Rings ;D) to help you understand what the author is trying to say. The book begins with freeing your imagination and creating characters and finishes off with concepts such as showing vs. telling and point of view, and interviews with authors (the main question on advice for aspiring teen writers).

This book is great for new writers, as well as more experienced ones. I like this quote from a person named Rebecca Czarnecki on Goodreads: "Really, this is not just a book about to how to write, it's also like a support group!" I think the writing tips, quotes, and writing exercises really made this book like a support group.

Alyianna's rating: 10

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bridge to Terabithia - Movie

My sister and I watched Bridge to Terabithia last night. If I had to describe this movie in one word, I would either say either "emotional" or "Wow!". This movie is now on my list of top movies, and I'm already planning music videos and fan fiction - and believe me, I only do that for TOP MOVIES.

Here is the story: Jesse (Jess) Aarons is not the happiest child. His father favours his sisters (the bratty twins Brenda and Ellie, the adorable MayBell, and the baby [I didn't catch her name]) over him. His family doesn't appreciate his love for drawing, and he is bullied at school.

Enter Leslie Burke, daughter of a couple, who write fiction. Leslie's imaginative mind is something new for Jess. Leslie and Jess discover their own imaginary world, Terabithia, where they battle the servants of the Dark Master and grow closer in friendship.

The next parts are all spoilers, so I put them in red so that you can skip them if you want. Jess has a crush on his music teacher, Ms. Edmunds. So when she invites him to go to the art museum with her, he eagerly accepts. He thinks about inviting Leslie, as well; but he decides not to, wanting Ms. Edmunds all to himself. When he comes back, he finds that Leslie tried to go into Terabithia alone. The rope broke, and, although Leslie was a good swimmer, the current was too strong, and she drowned. Jess finds Leslie's death hard to cope with and goes into Terabithia alone. He imagines the Dark Master following him, but it turns out to be his father. Jess' father comforts his son and Jess makes his sister MayBell a Princess of Terabithia.

The movie was wonderful. The scenery of Terabithia was gorgeous. AnnaSophia Robb was the perfect Leslie. Josh Hutcherson was a really great Jess. The acting was done really well. I didn't care too much for some of the background music, but the soundtrack pieces (Seeing Terabithia, Jesse's Bridge, Into the Forest) were just as magical as the Narnia and LOTR soundtracks are for me. In addition to all this, I haven't read the books since I was young, but my memory and Wikipedia tell me that that the movie isn't too far from the book (anyone can correct me if I'm wrong).

The movie is rated PG, for several reasons. First, for some frightening scenes. But, honestly, I don't think the few scenes are any scarier than the Narnia movies. Next, there are 2-3 instances of language from Jess' dad in one scene where he gets mad at his son. At school, there is a lot of bullying going on. The Protestant church that Jess and MayBell go to have them believe that God is unjust, sending people to Hell, who don't believe in Him. And finally, one bully's father is reported to have been beating his daughter.

Here is a review talking about the PG rating of this movie.

However, I still think this movie is appropriate for children. My sister is eight and she didn't have a problem with the movie (part of this may be that she is too young to really understand it all). Actually, I was more affected by the movie than she was. The scenes where Jess finds about Leslie's death and when his teacher at once occasion and his father at another comfort him are so very emotional.

And so, I would definitely recommend this movie - with a box of tissues nearby.

Alyianna's rating: 9.8 out 10 (0.2 taken off for language)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Introducing Artists: One Direction

From left to right: Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, and Harry Styles.

When Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson tried their luck at Britain's X Factor, they had no idea that they would be forming a boy band. All five passed the auditions, but did not pass as solo artists. But instead, Simon Cowell grouped them together as a boy band on July 23, 2010, and so One Direction began.

Fun fact: Harry Styles came up with the name One Direction.

After covering songs such as "Torn", "Total Eclipse of the Heart", and "Chasing Cars" (and making several very funny weekly video diaries, I might add), One Direction came in third in the finals, Matt Cardle winning first place, and Rebecca Ferguson taking the place of runner-up. But even though they did not come in first place, Simon Cowell gave the lads a record label.

"We wanted to win and coming third was a big disappointment. So to find out we were signed was incredible. Simon Cowell was telling you your life was about to change! It was weird. Coming from our first audition to being signed by Syco is a huge journey."
- Harry Styles

One Direction's first album - Up All Night - was released in November 2011 through Syco Records. One Direction collaborated with many producers and songwriters including Kelly Clarkson (Tell Me A Lie) and Ed Sheeran (Moments - on the yearbook edition of the album). The album is mainly pop, and it was the fastest selling album in the UK. in 2011. The album's lead single, "What Makes You Beautiful" entered the UK Singles Chart at #1 on September 18th (2011). Their other two singles are "Gotta Be You" and "One Thing".

"They're all awesomely talented guys, stupidly good-looking of course, as well. Young. They've got everything. They've got the whole package. But none of them realized it. They're all very humble and down to earth. It just reminded me of exactly of how we were like when we started."
- Tom Fletcher

In April 2012, an American One Direction (not very well known) contacted the British One Direction, saying that they had the name first and they were going to sue the British boy band. However, Simon Cowell resolved this by paying the US boy band $1 million.

At the moment, One Direction just finished their U.S. tour and are in the process of recording their second studio album, which they started recording in May 2012 in Sweden. The boys have revealed that they want to contribute more to the songwriting and they are also planning to put more guitar in the music and make their music grungier. Their second album is due for release sometime in late 2012. One Direction has also planned a world tour for 2013.

Each member is known for their feature; [Niall] Horan is "the cute one", [Zayn] Malik is "the quiet and mysterious one", [Liam] Payne is "the sensible one", [Harry] Styles is "the charming one" and [Louis] Tomlinson is "the funny one".
- Wikipedia

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Foundling by Lloyd Alexander - Book Review

I really enjoyed Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles (five books in the series). This book has eight short stories that all relate to the five other books. I found these stories really interesting and they helped me understand the books better. Some of the stories were of events that I had really wanted to hear about (such as the first story, about *SPOILER ALERT select the white text only if you dare!* Dallben being found by the three witches Orddu, Orwen, and Orgoch.

The stories were fun and a quick read (I read the book in about half an hour - but I'm a fast reader, so don't be disappointed if you take longer or something like that ;P). They are formatted almost like fables, with each one having its own moral. Perhaps it does not have much character depth, but they are short stories, are they not? Good for children, but I think older people can enjoy it, as well (I certainly did!). And isn't that what makes a book good? That the morality is fine for a child, but an adult can enjoy the book.

Alyianna's rating: 9 out 10 (because I wish it was longer!)

Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction by Lisa Tuttle - REVIEW

This was the first writing guide I had ever read (which sounds terrible for me, being a writer and all). There were SO many pointers that I found helpful - such as the stressing of writing every day, getting your work published, the need of an agent, the different types of fantasy and science fiction, writing dialogue, etc. etc. etc.

A lot of the book was showing her personal experiences as a writer, which I found helpful because I like to be shown an example rather than be just told how to do it. I learn better that way. :)

She interviewed several writers and editors, which helped me see a bit more of what my experience might be like with an editor.

Overall, I think this book is very good for anyone, who is beginner in the fantasy and/or science fiction writing field.

One point that I would like to make is that the the author's example of an omniscient author wasn't exactly the most appropriate - on pp. 83 and 85, I think (I don't have the book anymore, I had to return it).

I think this book is best for a teen and adult audience.

Alyianna's rating: 8 out 10

Link to my review on Amazon - how about going over there and rating it as helpful? :)